Residency in Neurologic Physical Therapy - Cincinnati VA Medical Center
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Cincinnati VA Medical Center


Residency in Neurologic Physical Therapy

Overview and History

The Physical Therapy (PT) Service at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center (CVAMC) offers a single position for a one-year Neurologic PT Residency in partnership with the University of Cincinnati (UC), College of Allied Health, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences.

Our Residency Program was established in 2015 through an Expanded Physical Therapy Residency Pilot funded by the Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA).  Our Program is accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association as a postprofessional residency program for physical therapist in Neurologic Physical Therapy. The initial accreditation is for five years.

Neurologic PT Residency Program Admission Support Information

Our mission is to prepare PT residents for advanced specialty practice. This program will cultivate high level neurologic physical therapists who integrate the teacher-scholar model into their clinical practice. Through neurologic clinical experiences under the mentorship of master clinicians, along with didactic learning experiences in critical neurologic topics including both teaching and research, the program will develop advanced PT practitioners who care for the whole patient and are prepared for board certification in neurologic physical therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).

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Residents will start their year-long program in July.  They will be employed by the Cincinnati VA Medical Center, and therefore need to be a US citizen.  Residents will treat a primarily neurologic patient caseload ~30-40 hours/week, rotating through acute inpatient with exposure to specialty populations in intensive care, rehab, long-term care, outpatient, and home-based primary care teams.  Residents are involved in mentoring sessions with expert clinicians for not less than 4 hours/week and didactic coursework not more than 8 hours/week.  The residents will also participate in periodic specialty clinics (e.g. Pain Management, SCI/ALS, ENT, TBI/Polytrauma, PACT, Movement Disorders, Matter of Balance, and Mobility), as well as program development and a variety of teaching opportunities at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and University of Cincinnati throughout the year.  Residents who successfully complete the program will be eligible to apply to sit for the Neurologic Clinical Specialist (NCS) exam.  This is a funded position with benefits.

Applications are reviewed starting in January, with interviews offered on a “first come, first served” basis with final decision no later than April 30.  Candidates can apply as students but need to have a plan to graduate and become licensed physical therapists prior to the start date of the residency.

Cincinnati VAMC is a two-division campus located in Cincinnati, Ohio and Fort Thomas, Kentucky and residency program activities will take place primarily at the Cincinnati VAMC. The facility serves fifteen counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana with six Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) located in Bellevue, KY; Florence, KY; Lawrenceburg, IN; Hamiliton, OH; Clermont County, OH; and Georgetown, OH. Three Cincinnati VAMC off campus locations are also available to include an Eye Center, Vet Center and Mental Health Outreach Community Division.

Cincinnati VAMC is a 1b complexity, clinical referral facility. It is an affiliated teaching hospital, providing a full range of patient care services, with state-of-the-art technology, medical education, and research.  The Medical Center provides comprehensive health care through primary care, dentistry, specialty outpatient services, and tertiary care in areas of medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and neurology. A Community Living Center (CLC) is located adjacent to the Cincinnati VAMC that provides hospice, palliative care, short-term rehab and long-term care.  The facility is a regional referral center for PTSD. Cincinnati VAMC has an active affiliation with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and is connected both physically and functionally to the University. Physical Therapy services are provided in the Community Living Center (CLC), to patients enrolled at six community based outpatient clinics (CBOCs), through five homebased primary care teams and at our Domiciliary/Outpatient unit in Northern Kentucky, which houses our new geriatric wellness program.  The Physical Therapy department therapy center is located on the second floor of the Cincinnati VAMC.  Supervisory staff offices that oversee the provision of outpatient and inpatient services are also located on the second floor.

Within the main campus, residents have opportunities to observe and provide care within an inpatient unit, two ICUs, an outpatient clinic, and collaborate with our Primary Care, Podiatry and Neurology departments. At the CLC, program residents are exposed to extended and long-term care, inpatient rehabilitation, and a palliative care program.  Physical Therapy supports a Residential Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Residential Program.  The medical center is currently building a new facility on its main campus in Cincinnati for expanded services in rehab, extended, and long-term care.

Outpatient PT is also provided at four CBOCs within the tri-state.  Home care services are provided through five HBPC teams that serve a 50-mile radius from each of the six CBOCs.  Active telehealth clinics in health promotion and durable medical equipment help to make efficient use of staff time as well as improve continuity of care and utilization of scarce resources.

Highlights include:

  • Cincinnati VAMC consists of 2 divisions located in Cincinnati, Ohio and Fort Thomas, Kentucky
  • Includes six community-based outpatient clinics, Eye Center, Mental Health Outreach Community Division and Vet Center
  • Provides services to 15 counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana
  • Cincinnati VAMC has an active affiliation with the UC College of Medicine
  • Referral site for neurosurgery
  • PTSD Residential Programs for Men & Women
  • PTSD/TBI Residential Program
  • Iraq/Afghanistan (OEF/OIF/OND) Clinic
  • Veterans Mobile Health Unit
Other facilities available for teaching experience include:
  • UC main campus, Physical Therapy Doctoral Program and Undergraduate Health Science Program
  • Mount St. Joseph University, Physical Therapy Doctoral Program

Mission Statement

The mission of the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and University of Cincinnati Residency Program in Neurologic Physical Therapy is to prepare advanced practice practitioners who integrate the teacher-scholar model into their clinical practice through mentorship with master clinicians, structured didactic and clinical learning experiences, and research and teaching opportunities.  As high level neurologic PT, graduates will serve as resources and role models within their professional, academic, and social communities and contribute to an expanding body of knowledge through the application of evidence-based practice.

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Program Goals and Objectives

1. Prepare PTs to become advanced practice practitioners of neurologic PT.
  • The Program will design clinical experiences to demonstrate advanced skills acquisition in the practice dimensions and knowledge areas as described in the current American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) Description of Specialty Practice (DSP) in Neurologic Physical Therapy.
  • The program will facilitate competency development through inclusion in Peer Review, Grand Rounds, and Journal Club, opportunities designed to demonstrate advanced application of evidence-based practice.
  • The Program’s faculty will demonstrate advanced application of evaluation tools and mentoring experiences to foster clinical decision making and provide training opportunities to advance skills in the management of the neurologic patient.
  • The Program will provide learning projects specific to the area of neurologic PT that are designed to enhance understanding and commitment to excellence, professionalism, leadership development, collaborative approach, and patient-centered care.
2. Develop and deliver an experiential curriculum that integrates the teacher-scholar model.
  • The Program will provide for participation in an APTA CI credentialing course and attendance at a ntaional conference.
  • The Program will include teaching methodologies within the curriculum to assist the Resident in the creation of didactic tools (e.g., modules) for application within student internships and the Residency Program based upon the DSP in neurologic PT.
  • The Program will be structured to enable the Resident to acquire teaching experience within the PT Programs of the UC and the Cincinnati VAMC impacting students, interns, and peers in area of specialty.
  • The Program will provide the Residency faculty with resources and opportunities to develop, practice, and refine their teaching skills.
3. Contribute to an expanding body of knowledge in Neurologic PT.
  • The Program will provide for opportunities for the Resident to engage in a leadership role in Journal Club with respect to areas pertaining to Neurologic PT through presentations of literature reviews that involve demonstrated ability to analyze research studies in view to design, rationale, methodology, selected instruments, application of statistical tools, outcome measures, and clinical applicability for staff and students.
  • The Program will encourage the Resident to develop a poster presentation or case study in Neurologic PT for submission to a state or national conference.
  • The Program will ensure that both Program and Resident needs are met by enabling collaborative experiences with the Neurologic Residency Program Directors in the ongoing development of the Residency Curriculum.
  • The Program will engage the Resident to reflect and apply learning opportunities in the development of a Neurologic Toolbox, helping to identify and select outcome measures most readily applicable to inpatient and specialty populations.
4. Serve as a resource within professional, academic, and social communities.
  • Program faculty will help to identify research projects that meet critical needs within a specific neurologic population.
  • The Program will provide for representation opportunities on collaborative teams and medical center committees, supporting the Resident in serving as Neurologic PT Point of Contact (POC) and as a representative of the Rehabilitation Care Line (RCL).
  • The Program will seek to serve beyond the clinic through development of community service projects.
  • The Program will provide for formal and informal mentoring opportunities with PT students interested in Residencies and advanced practice in neurologic PT.
5. Graduate physical therapists who demonstrate professional excellence/virtue and who are prepared to pursue ABPTS certification as a neurologic clinical specialist.
  • The Program will demonstrate a commitment to ICARE core values and characteristics through exemplary professional conduct and behavior at all times.
  • The Program’s curriculum will include opportunities to participate in professional organizations at local, regional, and/or national levels.
  • The Program’s curriculum will address all aspects of the Neurologic PT DSP within both clinical and didactic elements.
  • The Program will enable opportunities for organizational stewardship within the curriculum through participation in the ongoing review and development of Residency Program materials and resources along with recruitment efforts for the Residency Program.

Resident Benefits

Residents will be temporary appointments in a not-to-exceed 366 day hire status.  As employees of the Cincinnati VAMC they will be entitled to the following benefits:

  • $45,239 stipend
  • Health Insurance
  • Paid leave days: 13 vacation; 13 sick; 10 federal holidays observed
  • Authorized absence to attend selected/approved continuing education
  • Personal workstation/desk area
  • Office supplies/resources/support personnel
  • Medical media services: reproduction; creative/development services
  • Staffed library and access to online library services
  • Free parking
  • APTA CI certification
  • Teaching experience

Application Requirements

Admission requirements for the residency are established by the Residency Committee as guided by the Office of Academic Affiliation (OAA) Physical Therapy Education Enhancement:  New and Expanded Pilot Physical Therapy Residency Programs, VHA Handbook 1170.03 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service (PM&RS) Procedures, VA Manual M-8 Part 1 Chapter 2, Affiliations with Academic Institutions, and VA Handbook 5005/99, Part II, Appendix G12 Physical Therapist Qualification Standard and may include but are not limited to:

  • Graduation from a degree program in physical therapy from an approved college or university approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).  Any licensed PT, regardless of academic degree, would be eligible to apply for a residency position. This would include Bachelors prepared, Masters prepared, and Doctoral prepared individuals.
  • Current, full, active, and unrestricted license to practice PT in a State, Territory of Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia. 
    Note: Non-licensed graduate PT’s who otherwise meet basic requirements for VA employment are eligible for the residency program per VHA Handbook 2005/99 dated February 7, 2018.
  • A completed application package through the Residency/Fellowship Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (RF-PTCAS)
  • An interview process

Acceptance into the residency program is based on knowledge, skills, and abilities that demonstrate an aptitude for a career as a neurologic PT.

Applications are evaluated per the following criteria:

  • Academic achievements
  • Clinical experiences related to neurologic PT
  • Continuing education related to neurologic populations
  • Research: exposure to and areas of interest

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Minimal eligibility for residency selection:

Highly regarded applicants are those who:

  • Demonstrate superior written and spoken communication skills
  • Have completed an advanced internship under the mentoring of a neurologic clinical specialist
  • Demonstrate experience in data analysis and publication
  • Demonstrate a passion to work with the neurologic client through the acquisition of advanced clinical reasoning and application within the practice of neurologic PT
  • Demonstrate a desire to explore federal employment opportunities in neurologic PT
  • Veterans

Applications are accepted on a fixed but flexible basis (start date within the fiscal year as determined by the OAA funding requirements).  Only applicants who provide a completed application package will be selected for interview by the Residency Committee.  The selected candidate must meet the all the criteria for federal employment as a VA postdoctoral resident.  Final selection will be determined through Human Resources contact to PT Supervisor indicating all required elements have been satisfied and applicant has committed to residency.

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factor.

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The OAA leads the VHA health professions statutory education mission that enables VA to enhance the learning environment, to provide excellent care to Veterans, and to develop, recruit, and retain high quality professional staff.  The VHA Workforce Succession Strategic Plan annually has identified PT as one of VHA’s top ten priority disciplines for recruitment and retention.  Physical Therapy Residency training programs are effective mechanisms for the development of a recruitment pool of skilled PTswho will be able to work with Veterans to assist them in managing their clinical needs.

It is the desire of the Cincinnati Rehabilitation Care Line “to continually challenge our knowledge, engage our compassion and commit to personal growth as dedicated healthcare providers."

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